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  • Thomas Riddell

A Short Story: The Introverted Magician


Rain droplets covered his bedroom window; some rolled down the glass quickly, while some didn't move at all. Sinclair viewed the distorted world beyond those tiny beads of water and wondered how people could be so stupid not to see his deceptions and to thereby not witness the true evil that lurked inside of his soul. The silver dollar rolled over his knuckles quickly and effortlessly; around and around it went, under his hand and over his hand. Sinclair grinned. He had perfected it so well that he did it without even thinking. He was a master manipulator of coins and other forms of sleight of hand, misdirection, and trickery. As the silver dollar flashed and continued to dance across his fingers he chuckled and muttered, "I've deceived them all and the show is far from over..."


Through his late teens and early twenties, Sinclair traveled with a large circle of friends and acquaintances. His impromptu magic, mostly performed in bars and at drunken college parties won him over with many. He never turned down a chance to date one of many awestruck women, but his approach was unusual and some of his bachelor peers heard stories about Sinclair’s romantic exploits and took notice.


Penny was a short blonde, denim clad, with an impish smile who clung to Sinclair's side for over an hour while he performed miracles at a college beer bash. She had eyes for the young magician and during a cigarette break she playfully tugged on Sinclair's sleeve. "Hey, you going to ignore me all night? I've been watching you do your tricks. You're good. My dad taught me how to do a double lift with a deck of cards and I'm pretty good at doing a classic palm with a coin."


"Yeah? Can you mind read too? Tell me what I'm thinking..."


Penny giggled. "That you'd like to take me out to dinner? I hope I'm right."


Sinclair smiled and nodded. "Not bad, but I'm not so sure I want to go out with someone who's dad is a cop, and you still live home with your parents. Your grades are also slipping, and I don't want to contribute to your intellectual slide. I'm also more of an introvert than an extrovert, even with all of my magical showmanship on display. I do very well at deceiving people, don't you think?"


Penny's mouth hung open. "How did you know all that about me? We've never even met before!"


Sinclair smirked. "A magician never reveals his secrets but there's a lot more about you that I know. Do you still want that dinner date or do I bring the curtain down on this relationship right now?"


Penny glared, smiled, and slowly shook her head back and forth. "Did anybody ever tell you that you look like a younger George Clooney, you know, that actor? I may want that dinner date just to find out how you know all you do about me, but you have to ask me out and if you don't, I don't think I'm going to leave you alone. How's that sound?"


Sinclair held both of his hands out in front of him, palms down and then slowly turned them palms up. He smiled, nodded, and looked up into the air directly to the right of Penny's head. He slowly reached up and quickly grabbed a silver dollar that had materialized out of thin air and brought it down to give to Penny. "Here. Show me a classic palm and then do a French drop. Prove your honesty to me."


Penny said, "Sure" and performed both flawlessly and handed the coin back to Sinclair. "You're pretty good. Your dad taught you well. How would you like to go to that Japanese steak house around the corner from here?"


At a candle lit corner table Sinclair and Penny dined on steak and lobster and were now near the end of their first date while both were sipping a glass of chianti. They both had said little during their meal, but Penny's curiosity struck again, just as the alcohol settled in. "So, how did you do it? How did you know so much about me in such a short period of time? And don't give me the magician's secret crap."


Sinclair put down his glass and wiped his lips with the red linen napkin. "Let's just say I have spent my entire lifetime watching people and studying them. To be honest, I really don't like to interact at all with people. I only like to feed off of them, for my own pleasures. Honestly, I'm an extremely shy person. An introvert who only plays the part of a magician, who only appears to like to mingle with others. A grand actor of sorts whose only purpose is to deceive others and in doing so, it swells my ego, much like this dinner has swelled my tummy here." He chuckles and pats his stomach as his eyes hold steady as they devour the pretty girl seated across from him.


Penny shifted in her seat nervously, not sure how to take the words that Sinclair had just spoken to her. His words seemed so smooth, and they seemed almost like he had rehearsed them hours or even days ago, but his words disturbed her, more so, they chilled her, but she remained composed, almost entranced by the good-looking man across from her. She cleared her throat. "You didn't tell me how you knew all that stuff about me."


Sinclair reached into the empty wine glass and produced the silver dollar from it. He held it up and it began to roll over his fingers, over and over again. Penny couldn't keep her eyes off from it. " Penny, you see this shiny object here? You're mesmerized by it. The fact is, I can get you to do anything I want and while you're at it, I've misdirected you. In so doing I've gotten everything I want from you." Sinclair winked. "You're attracted by my magic and this coin here? This Eisenhauer silver dollar does more than appear, disappear, and roll across my fingers. It tells me things. Things about you and it tells me about my future. You are a part of it. I can tell you more about you...if you want to hear, but it might shock you.”


To be continued…

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